Maternal cell contamination of buccal smear samples in nursing neonates

Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Virginia V. Michels, Mark E. Law, Noralane M. Lindor, Syed M. Jalal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Buccal smear analysis is a non-invasive method which is being popularized by new fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques. It is frequently used for gender identification and detection of sex chromosome aneuploidy in neonates. We attempted to determine whether or not buccal smears of nursing infants can be contaminated by maternal cells from breast feeding. FISH involving centromere specific directly labeled, multicolor probes for chromosomes X, Y and 18 were used for analysis of buccal smear samples. Buccal smear samples from 22 breast fed and 20 formula fed male neonates were analyzed in a blinded fashion. Twenty-seven percent of samples from breast fed infants had some (0.5-2.5%) XX signal pattern while the samples from formula fed infants had no XX signal pattern (difference statistically significant, p < 0.02, at 95% confidence interval). Our results indicate that breast feeding can cause maternal cell contamination of buccal smear samples that can lead to misinterpretation of results involving FISH analysis or other DNA based diagnostic studies. We have also modified the FISH technique to suit the neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Breast fed neonates
  • Buccal smear
  • FISH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal cell contamination of buccal smear samples in nursing neonates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this